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Thread: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

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    Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Ok, so after a bit of cool off time (24 hours) and a long long drive to the back of nowhere (gives great thinking time), i've had time to think this through a bit.

    I'm definitely going for an Alpa. Now what should the setup be?

    Needs are;

    1/ability to do panorama stitching - this is number one above all else.

    2/ability to try out as many lens combinations as possible - old and new but have a definite love of old lenses and want to try adapting what i can to a body.

    3/attach different MFDB's - interested in trying Leaf color and P1 color and very recent 5.3 micron backs and old fat pixel 9 micron backs - in short, want to try different digital sensor "looks" as well as lens "looks"

    The biggest priority is to be able to create the best panoramas i can. Not sure of the aspect ratio yet - will need to play around with the camera when i get it and see what works for me.


    I am smitten with the FPS but this camera does not stitch. It does let me mount many lenses and i am very keen to collect old lenses to try out. I would also like to get a set of technically perfect high res lenses that are traditionally used on tech cameras. So any and all lenses are being considered.

    So given all that i am considering which Alpa cameras to go with.

    I will def go for an FPS - no question on that.

    But should i go for an 12 STC or an 12 XY?

    Upon reading specs i see ;

    The STC has 18mm of movement L and R.

    The XY has 25mm of L and R movement AS well as +45mm and -25mm of vertical movement - is that useful to me ?

    So i think the kit i need to put together as a base kit looks like this;

    FPS, STC *OR* XY (not sure) + adaptors - (6mm, 11mm, 17mm tilt/swing) Canon EF mount, Mamiya 645 mount, Hasselblad V mount.

    From what i have read here, the view finder offers little practical value (am i wrong on that?) - Should i get the viewfinder or not?

    Is the using an iPhone as a view finder and holder MkII any good - is this a useful thing to use or not? (in the real world that is - not in a glossy brochure world)

    As far as i can see, thats about it for the base Alpa kit.

    Then i need lenses. Is there any sort of list anywhere on what can/cannot be used?

    I want to consider the traditional lenses used on a tech camera. Which lenses will fit the above setup? (23,28,43,60 etc Rodi or Schneider's)

    Then i want to look at MF lenses to mount to the FPS - but if possible i want to retain ability to stitch with these lenses.

    Hassleblad seem to be the easiest to adapt. Which hassy lenses will fit on the above setup?

    I need to research Mamiya 645 lenses to see whats available because i just have no idea on Mamiya.

    With the Canon adapter i would think that if there is an adapter to mount a given lens to Canon EF mount, then just about anything could be mounted to the FPS.

    Sadly, the Rollei's just seem too difficult. Not giving up but Rollei has moved back a few notches in importance because of the difficulties. There is enough to grasp here as it is without worrying about trying to mount and *control* Rollei lenses.

    I have no clue what i am doing with a tech cam - never used one before - but will do whatever is required to come to grips with it. I will have loads of time to learn it all and practice so this aspect does not worry me at all.

    Have i missed anything that i should be consdiering/watching out for?


    Weight is of no consequence - i have sherpa's to do the carrying. Size is of no issue at this level given setup times etc.

    Thanks for any input

    as the title to this forum states .......

    "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."

    I'm gone and hopelessly out of control here already. Oh well. Its only money.

  2. #2
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Mark,

    I think the XY is a pretty large object to be carrying around in the bush, and it's not clear that you'd need its range of movements. The Max is a wonderful camera (and half the weight of the XY), but has no more shift than the STC. If you can "get by" with 18mm shift to each side, it is a very nice camera. Unless you need rise and shift, I think it's a better choice than the Max.

    The iPhone adapter is a very good viewfinder solution. I've had one for a while, and just installed it on an STC. You can program the iPhone app to show your lenses, and save a lens list. It's like having a large EVF. Though it's not "looking through" your lens, it does a very good job.

    Steve

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Stephen,

    Right, so the iPhone view finder has at least "some" merit.....hmm OK, well i will add that to the list.

    I have no real sense of the sizes of these cameras - may have to make cardboard mockups to get some idea of whats what. But weight and size of no real importance i think - as i said - i wont be carrying it - the sherpas will. So apart from having to carry it and what it weighs etc - what particularly would bother you about the XY ?

    Is 25mm of shift too much in that there is no lens that can really use that amount of shift anyway ? If there is a lens that can use it all, then i don't see size and weight to be an issue.......at this time......will be an interesting discussion in a few months if i did go that way. I can say, i am listening real careful to what you guys have to say on all this.

    I was listening to an audio book yesterday in the car........ the book said " its a funny thing about how people ask for advice.....they rarely ever take it". Food for thought indeed. At this time my eyes are wide shut on all this. So trying to stand back and let the people who know, talk about their experiences. I reckon i'd do well to listen. So please any thoughts most welcome.

  4. #4
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    For landscape type images your most likely going to do more panning than stitching. It's easier for one . Need only one LCC shot to correct all the pano shots and you just don't need to be as critical with landscape. Although folks do stitch in the field, it's just a easier task doing a pano with great results. Stitching really is important when doing more architecture type work as your dealing with vertical lines much more that need to be accurate. Not saying stitching is not as important in the field just that you can get by easier just doing some panos. Arguments for both obviously.

    Btw I'm up for adoption. Lol
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Schneider SK 60 XL has one of the widest image circles to be found 120 mm worth of movement on that lens and it stellar. Its a must have. Lenses well something to be said for all the Rodie's as it will work with the 80 mpx better. This gets expensive but the 23 is awesome , no real movements here maybe 2 mm, 28 mm about 7 mm, 35 mm I think about 15mm in each direction, than the 40mm are all some of the best tech lenses you can buy. Arguments for one or the other are varied as far as use but the are stellar.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    I have the Max and FPS (OK, and a TC, but I can't remember the last time I took that out), and think it's a great combination.

    Re Max over the STC (or SWA for that matter), I just like the fact that I'm ready to stitch in any direction that might be needed.

    Having said that, if I was being totally honest, I wish I had the XY, if only for the geared movements on both axes.

    Viewfinder - I rarely use it (I have the optical one). Makes a lot of sense of course if you're doing handheld work, but once you start working off a tripod, you can line things up pretty quickly without it. It does look cool though!

    Lenses...

    OK, here goes, and this is where the fun really begins.

    I have the following:

    "Tech" lenses -
    23HR, 32HR FPS, 50HR short barrel, 70HR FPS, 120 and 210 Schneiders.

    All but the 23 work on both the FPS and Max. Only the 50 and the two Schneiders can be used on the FPS and Max together (i.e. when the FPS is being used as a shutter unit for the Max). Put another way, there is no way to shift the 32 or the 70 on the FPS.

    The 32HR is just stunning. It's so good, that I think it makes a lot of sense to base your lens choices around it.

    The Rodie lenses are basically spaced out so that when you step up from one to the next, the horizontal field of view of the shorter focal length lens becomes the vertical field of view of the next one up.

    The full set is -

    23, 28, 32, 40, 50, 70, 90.

    It's worth noting that the 23 and 28 have VERY limited movements on a full frame digital back.

    Now, I started with the 70 (it's the cheapest of the lot IIFC), so my set of lenses is a bit "off". If I'd thought about it more and considered where I might end up after a few years, I wouldn't have started with that lens.

    The 32 is stunning. Oh, did I say that already?

    OK, so basing on the 32, skip every other focal length and you end up with -

    23, 32, 50, 90. I think that's a great set. The 23 is definitely optional though since you may not want to go that wide. Additionally since you'll be getting an FPS, you can save a whole bundle of cash and get the Canon 24mm TS-E in place of it. It's not AS good as the 23, but it's pretty close if you use it carefully.

    So, perhaps drop the 23 and spend that money on the two Canon wide tilt-shifts and still have more than $5K left over. (I've not mentioned center filters yet, but you really do have to use one on the 23, and also it's good to have the one for the 32.)

    Then add in the 120mm Schneider.

    I can't comment on the Hassy lenses, but I'm sure Dan will chip in there (possibly you won't need the 120 Schneider if you get the Hasselblads).

    On the Mamiya side of things, you will quickly realise that there is simply no point in duplicating focal lengths that you've got covered with the tech lenses (with two exceptions that I'll come onto in a moment).

    Yes, you can pick up the old manual focus Mamiya lenses very cheaply, and some of them are very good. If you want to extend your focal length range, then go for it and you can pick up the 150/200/300 f/2.8's at pretty reasonable prices on the second hand market.

    Where you may well cross over into the focal lengths covered by your tech lenses is...

    Mamiya 24mm fisheye. Only available second hand, but it is a brilliant, brilliant lens. If you really want to have some fun, you can get the lens hood shaved off, and then shift-stitch 4 images on the Max for a massive circular fisheye image.

    Mamiya 80mm f/1.9. The fastest ever MF lens (to the best of my knowledge). I love mine, but really don't shoot enough with it because it is an absolute bitch to focus wide open on the FPS. However, the IQ250 will give this lens a whole new lease of life.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.
    Last edited by gerald.d; 20th March 2014 at 07:12.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Guy - you are too funny !!

    Why dont you consider doing a workshop over here?

    I've not shot landscape pano's so really, have no idea what i am doing. I just want to get myself well setup for the task. Its getting hold of the lenses that i think will be the hard part.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Fair warning the folks here are going to kill your wallet. Just be aware your buying the best there is but at a cost. This forum is relentless on bank accounts. Lol
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Good luck with your quest, Youngee. There's plenty of help here.

    A few quick notes - others will chime in I'm sure.

    It doesn't sound like the advantages the X/Y offer will be of compelling use for you, although it depends. If money or size/weight is no object....

    What you have to be mindful of is that people often recommend - with the best of intentions - solutions with their budget in mind more than yours. Even if you state "money doesn't matter" it's hard to recommend something that seems wasteful for a single small feature that adds an inordinate amount of cost. I often fight the same thing myself as a person who sells solutions to clients - I need to be very cognizant of the client's budget, what they are capable of spending and what they want to spend, and perhaps critically, what is the most relevant for them, the cost or the feature. It's not always an easy perspective to grapple with (and some people who sell products take it in the opposite direction!). But it has to be addressed, it absolutely cannot be assumed. What is helpful is when clients are open to trusting and sharing their feelings about this.

    That said, the XY does offer some additional movements beyond the STC (though most lenses won't be able to take full advantage of them when combined with larger sensor DB's). This also includes the ability to combine movements (horizontal shift & vertical shift) in the same shot, though for the work you're describing, this situation may not come up frequently. It also provides compensatory gearing, but again, this is mostly a benefit for vertical shift. But all this comes at a cost of additional price and size/weight.

    The optical viewfinder appeal is mixed. While optically, it's georgous, practically, many find using an iPhone with the Alpa Finder II app perfectly fine. It is kind of a subjective choice, I feel. Personally, I use the iPhone with the Alpa finder and get my scene, then set up. This can also be done by cupping your hands! The iPhone allows for a bit more precision for the particular lens/sensor you're using though than the cupped hands approach!

    Mamiya lenses include the manual focus (or to be more exact, the lenses that have aperture control). No aperture control, no go, at the moment.

    More lenses will be coming. Don't forget you can use the Schneider Tilt/Shift lenses (28, 50, 90, 120).

    For now, at least with the larger sensors (60, 80 megapixel), the Rodenstock wide lenses are going to give you the best bang for buck for shift capability and performance. The Schneider wides will not allow the same degree of shift, even if they possess the same image circle. Once you get past 50mm, the choices are more equivalent and subjective on the particular individual lens performance for a given focal length. For your fat pixel digital backs, you can utilize some of those smaller, lighter, less expensive Schneider wides, so I wouldn't automatically discount those.

    It's an exciting time for anyone moving forward on an FPS camera, Youngee.


    Steve Hendrix
    Capturer Integration
    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar Authorized Reseller

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    I would love to do a workshop in Africa actually I would kill to do one. Get me enough folks and I'm on it. Lol

    I can get you hooked up on anything you want its a matter of shipping internationally though. Seriously if you need help I can make some calls.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Thanks Guy - great info !!

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Deliberate separate post to explain the different ALPA mounts and how they relate to the cameras, because it can be confusing.

    There are four different mounts:

    1. Regular mount - these just mount directly to the TC/STC/SWA/Max/XY (I'll refer to these as the "regular" cameras) without any "spacer" adapters. The 23HR is an example of one of these lenses.

    These lenses CANNOT be used on the FPS and maintain infinity focus.

    2. Short barrel 34 - these lenses barrels are 34mm shorter than they need to be in order to focus at infinity. They are designed to be used with - surprise - the 34mm adpater on the "regular cameras'. The 50HR SB34 is an example of one of these lenses.

    These lenses CAN be used on the FPS and maintain infinity focus with a 17mm adapter.

    In addition, these lenses CAN be used on a combination of a "regular" camera and the FPS. You'll need the 6mm adapter to maintain infinity focus. (A bit of maths here and you'll realise that the regular cameras are all 11mm thick)

    3. Short barrel 17 - Do NOT buy any of these mounts. They can be used on the "regular" camera, but not the FPS.

    4. Short barrel 17 FPS - I think now all of the lenses that were available in SB17, are now also available in SB17 FPS mounts. These lenses CAN be mounted to the FPS - in fact, they mount directly to it without any other adapters. These lenses can also be used on the "regular" cameras by using the 17mm "intermediate" adapter.

    The above may seem confusing at first, but it soon sinks in, and the different mounting options go a long way to making the ALPA system so flexible.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Yeah i do realize the cost is OTT - but that's fine - i plan to keep and heavily use the gear till i need to press the eject button for something like a heart bypass or some other old age thing (it'll be back home to Oz to get that done) - still got a few years in the old dog yet though. So this gear will get a work out.

    Have so many projects in mind. My wife is a publisher of sorts (publishes a magazine) and has fantasies of publishing books that she plans to write - so she is actually behind me on all this and encouraging me to go all out (can you believe it!!!!)...she thinks i am going to take photos for her books ..hahahahaha

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    Re Max over the STC (or SWA for that matter), I just like the fact that I'm ready to stitch in any direction that might be needed.

    Having said that, if I was being totally honest, I wish I had the XY, if only for the geared movements on both axes.
    Gerald,

    I am walking in your shadow ! A man after my own heart indeed.

    Very encouraging!

    Thanks for the input.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    One little hint...

    If you want to be able to tilt/swing, then don't buy the 34mm adapter so that you can use long barrel lenses on the "regular" cameras.

    Buy the FPS 17mm T/S adapter. This in combination with the 17mm "intermediate" adapter, will give you your 34mm, and mean that you can tilt/swing your long barrel lenses on both the FPS and the "regular" cameras

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    if one is geaing up for the FPS, do you get Sk and Rodie lenses fitted with the helical focus mount but no shutter? does this offer any savings?

    re the I-phone: just handholding it is great for evaluating FOV
    for rotation panos, it is very useful if mounted to judge overlap of shots

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    if one is geaing up for the FPS, do you get Sk and Rodie lenses fitted with the helical focus mount but no shutter? does this offer any savings?

    re the I-phone: just handholding it is great for evaluating FOV
    for rotation panos, it is very useful if mounted to judge overlap of shots
    I don't know if they're even available without the shutter - doesn't the shutter unit also allow setting of the aperture?

    I like the point about using the iPhone for judging rotation panos - nice one.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    I would go for the MAX, its the perfect combination of "stitchibility", creativity and maneuverability. You can stitch in all direction and you can hand hold it if needed. I have used mine handheld for portraits. And the max is the most beautiful Alpa in my opinion

    I would also suggest an FPS for more artistic shots. There area capabilities on this camera that we are not even aware of yet

    As far as lenses I have tried : Shneider 35mm 47mm 72mm
    Rodenstock 32HR 50HR 90HR

    32HR - best wide angle lens... period
    50HR - great all around lens with lots of "tiltability" can be used with 2, 17mm tilts to give you tilt in two directions...
    90HR - sharpest lens I've ever used PERIOD... the rendition on this lens is beyond anything i've ever used.

    I have sold all the schneider and use only Rodi lenses.

    I personally use lots of tilt, so my lens choices are based upon the ability to tilt. I don't use any 17mm or 34mm standard adapters and use only tilt adapters. For me it almost seems silly to not pay a little more to have the option of tilting, and if you don't want to tilt just set it to 0.

    You've made a good decision to go with Alpa. I know that since I switched over, I never looked back! The difference is in the details

    Hope this helps

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    It doesn't sound like the advantages the X/Y offer will be of compelling use for you, although it depends.
    Steve, what types of situations, shots would take advantage of the XY or MAX?

    My planned usage is landscapes in the bush, if my wife gets her way, lots of waterfall pictures (thats what her book is about and she seriously thinks because she is supporting this purchase i am going to take photos for her -we'll see - i am going to extract full mileage from this but that is another story)

    I appreciate your comments re budget etc. In my particular case i am going all out to do it right. Its a once off purchase and i can write it all off against my OTT tax bill so its all good. However i do want to buy wisely - not just throw it around blindly. I've taken stupid risks on the job to get where we are today - literally come within a hairs breadth of losing my life more then once, so keenly aware of the value of what we have.

    I do want to get a good set of the tech lenses - they will be needed and for taking images for reproduction is the way to go i am sure.

    The real fun for me is adapting the golden oldies. Super interesting to me.

    I am going all out on the camera/lenses - far more reserved on the backs. The p25+ fat pixel is a no brainer (to use a US saying) - should be fun to try different older backs to see the "look" they give.

    As for a more serious "big" back - i am not really sure. There are some who say dont go past the 39MP backs. I like the looks of the Leaf 56MP you have on sale right now - been tempted to pick the phone up more then once in the last few days to order it from you.

    I can definitely say i will not be going for a latest model 80MP - the depreciation is just too silly for me - i have no problem investing a large amount in the camera and lenses - already accepted the cost of that and moving forward on it - the Alpa cameras and lenses are forever - but the back - i just cant see the value in the latest 80MP monsters. The next best thing will be out next year and every year thereafter. I think it make more sense, at least till i know what i am doing with all this gear to go for value 56MP. Jury still out however......and no i am not going to let you talk to my wife - all she can see is waterfalls in high res and says go for the very best - who cares about the money - geez the opposite of what most guys get and i'm complaining ;-)

    I dont want to side track this thread so will open a new one on the merits of that back Vs others.

    Again, thanks for the input.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    i think you should have a hard look at the IQ250 if WYSIWYG is important

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    i think you should have a hard look at the IQ250 if WYSIWYG is important
    I was thinking that too when i first started on the whole FPS thing - but reading, reading, reading many threads it seems one can adjust to framing/focusing fairly readily.

    As well there is the whole SP2 thing going on which is a brilliant idea - i know that earlier backs are FW800 but if this works

    https://www.nitroav.com/store/nitroa...-repeater.html - EDIT - OK this wont work !

    then we may be able to adapt a FW back to USB3 and use the SP2 for framing/focus ?

    I'm all for an IQ250 5 years from now when they are 10K. I have no issue with spending on the camera and lenses - they will be going strong when the IQ 850 is released - but the backs are way over priced in my opinion. This is no longer 2001 - the tech is mature now so these guys are just milking the market. But the camera and lenses - no problem - it costs what it costs. Quality never was cheap. Electronics age and become worthless. I'm in a high tech industry and the new models just never stop coming. Still, sales make the world go around and these back makers have their costs and expenses to deal with too, so ...who can say? All i can say is i am not ready to lose 20K on a back in the next 2 years. I see the Alpa and lenses as a very very long term investment that i can pass on to my kids and them their kids. Cant say that about a back no matter which side of the fence one may be on, on this subject.
    Last edited by young'ee; 20th March 2014 at 08:44.
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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Regarding backs and take this from a guy that had 5 of them. This upgrade process can be killer on wallet. Steve works for my dealer CI and he can get you anything you want new or used. Now if I had life my way when I entered this I wish the IQ backs where out than but I went P25, P30, P40, IQ 160 than IQ 140 and shot everything in Phase at one time or another. I would kill to have that IQ 160 back in my bag as it was the best in overall value and image quality and to me the sweet spot is 60 mpx. I would seriously consider jumping in at least at that level as you will constantly want to upgrade if you don't start there. Be it a used Credo 60 or IQ 160 you won't find that need to upgrade that often . Personally I would jump in at least this level of back and you will be starting at a point where not much will ever be better. And that itch as we all have it won't be so bad to keep upgrading. Bottom line everyone here wants you in a good system right out of the gate as we all been down this road and the upgrade path can be a rough road on finances. Its great that the dealers take upgrades don't get me wrong as its a great way to get a great back but start at something that has real value today. I would just not reach to far back in time here.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Yep - hear you on this Guy.

    Yeah an IQ160 is not so bad, just not going down the road of an IQ2XX - at this stage anyway.

    I've not shot ANY of these backs - never even actually seen one in real life.

    I also think, from what i have read, that 60MP is about the sweet spot.

    I need to get my feet wet. Def going for the Alpa system. Want to order it in the next few days.

  24. #24
    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    IQ260 has long exposure capability although IQ180/280 has the ability to shoot at ISO35. Regardless, you can't go too wrong with any of the IQ series, which does afford the ability to shoot tethered USB3 to the Surface Pro 2.

    Hearing your war stories, I'd opt for the Alpa STC, which I think would be easier to grab and run under gun fire....

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    But i could hide behind a big camera ? Would the XY bounce an AK round off it?

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Come on guys - STOP IT - STOP IT - STOP IT !! I was set on an Aptus II.....now i'm considering an IQ !

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Lessee. You're looking at an Alpa Max or XY and an FPS.

    Everyone knows that it means an IQ series MFDB is in order.

    Go big or go home.



    (Dante is ruthless)

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    I see a lot of you suggesting the IQ. I went for a P65+ and bought better lenses. In buying my P65+ I got a huge deal and saved enough in comparison to the IQ160 to afford several rodi lenses. Backs are backs... I always tether into my computer, so the screen meant nothing to me.

    But if you have the money to buy an IQ, definitely go for it as they are much nicer. I have shot with the IQ280 and IQ250, and both are quite nice. I have not yet had the chance to shoot a 260, but I have heard amazing things about them.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by shortpballer View Post
    I see a lot of you suggesting the IQ. I went for a P65+ and bought better lenses. In buying my P65+ I got a huge deal and saved enough in comparison to the IQ160 to afford several rodi lenses. Backs are backs... I always tether into my computer, so the screen meant nothing to me.

    But if you have the money to buy an IQ, definitely go for it as they are much nicer. I have shot with the IQ280 and IQ250, and both are quite nice. I have not yet had the chance to shoot a 260, but I have heard amazing things about them.
    Whoa---you just bought a brand new RRS TVC-43 and only have a P65+?

    You deserve a new IQ260 to go with that tripod.

    Go big or go home.



    (Dante is ruthless indeed)

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Yea,
    I use tripods all day long. My back too. But the advantage of the IQ160 over the P65+ is absolutely nothing in my line of work. I actually believe the P+ series to be more rigid than the IQ series. The IQ's feel like they would break a lot easier and seem lower quality with exception to the screen.

    If it puts things in perspective, I consider my back one of the least important (to upgrade) of all my gear. Well can't upgrade my camera or lenses anymore

    I will be upgrading my lights before the back...

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    Whoa---you just bought a brand new RRS TVC-43 and only have a P65+?

    You deserve a new IQ260 to go with that tripod.

    Go big or go home.



    (Dante is ruthless indeed)

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    I'm living vicariously through your quest - and thanks to the wonderful knowledge sharing that this forum is so famous for. I don't (yet) actually own a tech camera, or a MFD back - yet I'm sharing some thoughts and concerns that i have had, during my own researches:

    1. I live in India, and the climatic conditions (ranging from Hot and Dusty, to hotter and dustier) with some serious rains thrown in - well... made me ease up on the MFD gear. I don't know quite what the conditions are like in Africa, but do give this a thought.

    2. Regardless of how much gear you can afford to buy, and how many Sherpas (sherpas? in Africa?) to carry it - it would be great to have a small bag always handy, with a Core System. For me this would be an Alpa STC, Leaf Aptus II - 10 (for the wide format), a 35SK + 60 SK.

    3. Unless you go the IQ 250 route (and it sounds like you don't want to) - you will have to account for some serious long exposure times, once the sun is down. The experts here will point out there are only a handful of backs that do exposures longer than about a minute or two.
    Personally - the thought of those clear night skies over African deserts … I'd want serious long exposure and/or high ISO capability. (Or a Sony A7 as back up!)

    4. Re: 'investing' in Alpa and lenses, expecting that they will last a long time, but opting for older backs -
    Well, firstly, expect the technologies in DBs to change, and maybe, render some wonderful gear incompatible (like some of the great SK lenses are currently out in the cold with the latest 80mp backs).
    Second - with the kind of image quality coming out of Sony A7/r and Nikon D800 and Zeiss lenses etc - i wonder if anything lens than a modern 60 mp MFD is worth all the hassle - you know, framing, exposure, focusing, centre filter LCC..

    good luck with your quest - i wish it was me !

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    There is no way to "adapt" FireWire to USB. It comes up every once in a while on the forum and the answer is definitively no.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by kapil Syal View Post
    I'm living vicariously through your quest - and thanks to the wonderful knowledge sharing that this forum is so famous for. I don't (yet) actually own a tech camera, or a MFD back - yet I'm sharing some thoughts and concerns that i have had, during my own researches:

    1. I live in India, and the climatic conditions (ranging from Hot and Dusty, to hotter and dustier) with some serious rains thrown in - well... made me ease up on the MFD gear. I don't know quite what the conditions are like in Africa, but do give this a thought.

    2. Regardless of how much gear you can afford to buy, and how many Sherpas (sherpas? in Africa?) to carry it - it would be great to have a small bag always handy, with a Core System. For me this would be an Alpa STC, Leaf Aptus II - 10 (for the wide format), a 35SK + 60 SK.

    3. Unless you go the IQ 250 route (and it sounds like you don't want to) - you will have to account for some serious long exposure times, once the sun is down. The experts here will point out there are only a handful of backs that do exposures longer than about a minute or two.
    Personally - the thought of those clear night skies over African deserts I'd want serious long exposure and/or high ISO capability. (Or a Sony A7 as back up!)

    4. Re: 'investing' in Alpa and lenses, expecting that they will last a long time, but opting for older backs -
    Well, firstly, expect the technologies in DBs to change, and maybe, render some wonderful gear incompatible (like some of the great SK lenses are currently out in the cold with the latest 80mp backs).
    Second - with the kind of image quality coming out of Sony A7/r and Nikon D800 and Zeiss lenses etc - i wonder if anything lens than a modern 60 mp MFD is worth all the hassle - you know, framing, exposure, focusing, centre filter LCC..

    good luck with your quest - i wish it was me !
    You hit the secret sauce . Bottom line Nikon and Sony are players and if your taking the under 40mpx path I would be hard pressed to tell you there is a huge difference. Sure its there but so is 30k in your pocket. In today's world I would not buy a back under 50 mpx. I know not a popular comment on the MF forum but I been here and done that and shooting the Sonys now. The only way I would go back is 60 mpx back or more. Look at it this way big money diffrence so make it a big IQ value distance too.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    wasn't there a toughness test on the IQ backs when they came out? i don't think they are wimpy!

    the larger sensor, the IQ screen and focus mask, the 60mpx, USB3...pretty compelling

  35. #35
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    IQ backs seem pretty sturdy, but I think an argument can also be made that the case on the IQ1 series is going to be stronger than the IQ2---my understanding that the top of the IQ2 MFDB is a plastic or synthetic material so allow the WiFi connection....

    ken

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by young'ee View Post
    Come on guys - STOP IT - STOP IT - STOP IT !! I was set on an Aptus II.....now i'm considering an IQ !
    Honestly if you are going to be using your camera out and about like you have mentioned I would not get anything less than a Leaf Credo or Phase One IQ back. They are the ONLY digital backs that have a nice screen. Most other screens are just junk. That is just essential for checking focus. Also, the IQ backs (and IIRC the Credo as well) have live view. It is a bit grainy and refreshes slowly and color is whack but works GREAT for composing images and even for checking focus a tad. The IQ backs add focus mask which is very useful for comparing focus between two or more shots.

    I just find it absurd to spend a lot of money on a nice camera body and lens setup only to have to deal with a crappy lcd screen. Might as well just get a budget setup. Obviously for studio use it is not such a big of an issue but for those of us who use the camera mostly untethered it is a huge issue. The Credo/IQ backs changed the game in that regard.

    Regarding specific digital back choice it is a bit tricky. If you want the best value and your exposures will mostly be 20 seconds or faster and you will be using wide angle lenses then the IQ160 is the best value right now, then the IQ180. For exposures in the 1 minute or longer range up to an hour then you are looking at either the P45+ (lcd is crappy like I mentioned) or the superb IQ260. The 60 and 80mp have the largest sensors so you will get the widest angles of view with any lens you mount.

    If you are mostly going to do cylindrical panos (rotating with a pano head or base around the nodal point of the lens) then the IQ250 is a superb choice since you might get by with a longer focal length. It has the most capability in regards to low light photography at high iso , long exposures and dynamic range (clean shadows) compared to any back ever made, period. Downside is that it is a smaller sensor with small pixels that do not play well with tech wide angles. BUT combine the back with the FPS and the Canon 17mm and 24mm TSE-II lenses and the results reported by some have been excellent.

    Of course, money no object for wide angle shots in decent light it is just hard to top the results you will get with the 60 or 80mp backs and Rodenstock lenses. If you are looking for the ultimate high resolution single shot files that is the choice.

    Be advised that shooting a back and tech camera setup is a bit more involved than using a dslr but do your part and the results will amaze you I promise.

  37. #37
    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    I shoot a MAX with four Schneider lenses and have no interest in upgrading my P45 back at this time, and I can afford to do so if I wanted too.

    I have read the screens on the newer backs are not that good for focusing, and live view is a joke. Have I read these postings wrong? Why do some IQ shooters use a Surface Pro or similar device instead of their back screens if the upgrade for the screens are worth it? Everyone has their priorities and mine has always been the love for the tech camera and lenses and that is where I put my money. Digital backs will come and go and purchasing a new one is something I would not do unless there was no other option. As long as I produce satisfying work with my P45, I will not upgrade. The magic bullet I am looking for is something that cannot be bought.

    You will love the ALPA camera line. I had shot with Arca Swiss tech cameras for many years and had four different Arcas, but once I acquired an ALPA, Arca lost my business. They are both beautifully designed camera lines, but there is something about the "click" of ALPA's engineering that once experienced, is forever remembered, at least with me!

    Take a deep breath and call more than one dealer for your ALPA. The best US ALPA dealer left the business a couple of years ago. Look for someone in Europe or closer to you in hopes they can assist you better for supply as ALPAs are made in Europe. Have fun!
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    ALPA are more than happy to deal direct with customers who are not served by a dealer.

    There's no dealer here in the UAE, and I've only ever had what can honestly be described as "perfect" service from them.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Hi Kapil,

    Agree with much of what you say - have had very similar thoughts.

    Re the heat and dust - yep that's what we have here. I've been to India and i would say you have it worse then us in this regard. Depends on what you call heat - we really only have 2 months a year that heat builds up - just before the rains start. Dust is part of living in the tropics.

    how many Sherpas (sherpas? in Africa?) to carry it - it would be great to have a small bag always handy, with a Core System. For me this would be an Alpa STC, Leaf Aptus II - 10 (for the wide format), a 35SK + 60 SK.
    Yeah - you're right - no sherpas here Per SE. You're in India - you know the life style - everywhere the British went they left the colonial lifestyle behind them. So here there is a man for every job. I've got 4 garden boys who work in the garden around the house everyday. 1 or 2 of them will be coming on trips with me - to carry gear - setup camp - security etc. So carrying this gear is not a concern to me - i wont be carrying it. But i agree, a smallish set of gear could be handy. I will probably go Sony A7r for that. These cameras and backs are tools - that's why you put together a tool box - to have the right tool for a particular job.

    Rightly or wrongly, and time will tell, the MFDB is purely for landscapes where a lot of time and effort is put in to get to a spot and setup the gear - ideal scenario for big gear. Far less people around in that type of situation as well which is a huge benefit of shooting in far away places in the bush (OK apart from the snakes - Black Mambas are a huge problem in the bush here). But there are definitely times when a small unobtrusive camera is the way to go - i would NEVER take the big MFDB into a village and try to get people shots like that - would be a total and complete disaster - would have 200 children and 50 adults all surrounding me asking for money. Stealth is the way to go in those situations. So on this point i agree - a small kit is essential for some scenarios.

    As for the backs and which one is right - i have no idea! I can load a 120 back with film blindfolded but using a DB...hmm, a learning curve ahead. I am not against the IQ2xx series - not at all. Its just that i note the rapid deprecation of these backs. We need to have them for sure but that does not make them a good investment - they're not. I have no need or desire to be on the bleeding edge of technology. I think its like buying a CPU - go for the very latest and you pay and pay and pay......then 6 months later you can buy the very same CPU for a LOT less. I am sure there are business cases where it makes perfect sense to buy the latest or a technical case where the IQ250 is much needed - but none of this applies to my case - this whole thing is for kicks. The days of me working behind a camera to pay the rent are long gone.

    At this point i dont think i have the need for really long exposures. That might change but at this time i cant see it. In any case there is always the P45+ for that. I really think the sweet spot on these backs is 60MP. Its a shame we cant get FW800 to cross connect to USB3 in some way because if we could then using a tablet for a screen to compose and focus is a brilliant way to go. Alas, its not going to happen. Still, it just means a laptop instead of a tablet - not the end of the world.

    I definitely see how the Nikon D800 and now the Sony A7r are encroaching on MFDB territory - but like many have said - its about more then just the sensor. I dont want to peer into a tiny viewfinder and use 35mm camera bodies - i prefer the joy of working with MF gear. Its just a whole different feeling/way to work. I have a long history of working in Pro labs - i owned a Pro lab back in the day. Even with film, there is something abut working with big negs Vs 35mm negs. Prints just had a different feel to them if they were printed from a 6x7 neg Vs a 35mm neg. Not having experience in digital yet i dont know how this feels compared to the old days but from what I've read it seems to be the same sort of thing.

    This is one of the huge advantages i see in the FPS system - change the lens on the front to get different "looks". FPS goes a step further.....change the sensor on the back to get different sensor "looks". Start with a P45+ now, cut your teeth on Digital, learn why things work and dont work for you and then armed with knowledge go drop 30K on a back - i think this is a wise way forward. The camera system costs what it costs - like anyone i'd prefer not to spend that much if i could help it, but fact is this Alpa system is in the high end of the camera world - that's going to cost - no way around this , so it is what it is. But the backs are a whole other story - i don't see value here at all. Its jsut a sensor and the sensors will continue to evolve - i'm going to let someone else pay for the cutting edge - i'll happily sit on the trialing edge thanks - 6 or 7 years ago the P45+ *WAS IT* the very best, the coolest etc.....now you can buy them for 5K (seen a number on ebay for that sort of money). I could be totally wrong because i am so far behind when it comes to digital its stupid, but it seems to me the incremental advances from one back family to the newest back family may be only a 5% improvement on the last gen. A P45+ or a P65+ is 90% of the way there in quality compared to the latest and greatest. That last 10% of quality is very expensive - i see no value in paying 500% more to get the final few percent of quality.

    The camera and lenses - whole different story.

    The Camera system and lens will last a life time - the backs - not so much. Backs will come and go, the lens will be used by my great grand children (if i chose maker wisely)

  40. #40
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    OK so scratch this qestion....... search is your friend.

    Found this - explains everything .http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-f...ital-back.html



    Can an Alpa user (Dan, Gerald, Darr,shortpballer, others (sorry if i missed you)....), explain to me how stitching works on an Alpa (I'm pretty sure i am on top of this but just checking in case I've got the wrong idea).

    I can stitch L/R on the STC ..., and on the Max i can do the same amount of stitch L/R but also get Top and Bottom (what is the term for this?) stitch movements.

    On the X/Y - i get extra L/R (25mm) and the same Top/Bottom as the Max? Plus the X/Y has geared movements - but is twice the size/weight of the max.

    Is the extra L/R stitch ability useful in real life over and above the 18mm of stitch on the STC?

    Is it possible to stitch an image L and R and then stitch Top and Bottom as well? - only reason i can see for that is cropping ability - i don't think i will be printing large prints - however one never knows. Given the time and expense to get these images (it would never make commercial sense to do this - so its hobby only for now....famous last words) it makes sense to take an extra 10 mins to get a Top and Bottom stitch.

    I've not stitched before so total newb to this. Aim is to get the right tools to do this to an OTT level - whether my skill set ever gets to that level remains to be seen, but i do want to have the right tools for that level of panorama making.
    Last edited by young'ee; 21st March 2014 at 04:33.

  41. #41
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Pick your poison. Once you start shifting you start image degradation. I never shift beyond 10mm..... but that's just me. I take these images to print them so I'm very picky about edges. To me its just as easy to turn the camera 10 or 12.5 degrees left and right and then stitch. There is some/very slight degradation due to interpolation during the stitching process but this is sometimes better than shifting and having soft edges. Some lenses are better than others..... for anything shorter than 60mm I would only rotate the camera at the lens nodal point..... but that's just me.

    Victor

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    One little hint...

    If you want to be able to tilt/swing, then don't buy the 34mm adapter so that you can use long barrel lenses on the "regular" cameras.

    Buy the FPS 17mm T/S adapter. This in combination with the 17mm "intermediate" adapter, will give you your 34mm, and mean that you can tilt/swing your long barrel lenses on both the FPS and the "regular" cameras
    Indeed. Do not buy the 34mm t/s, but 2 x 17mm adapters (one t/s one plain) for use with SB lenses.

    The 17mm t/s adapter is best placed with the lens, in the front of the camera for tilt/swing, and the regular 17mm 'intermediate' spacer at the back. This way you maintain the shortening of the lens barrel, required to avoid mechanical vignetting from the Alpa body when stitching at the full range, but gain the tilt/swing on the lens side, where its most needed.

    If you use the 34mm TS on the front/lens side, you are back to mechanical vignetting on the Max when stitching.

    Gerald - I'm disappointed in you! 1x 17mm T/S and 1x 17mm regular intermediate - I thought you'd have two 17mm TS's. Why on earth are you economizing - its too late for that now, surely?
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by young'ee View Post
    Is it possible to stitch an image L and R and then stitch Top and Bottom as well? - only reason i can see for that is cropping ability - i don't think i will be printing large prints - however one never knows.
    Use the first tech cam visualizer here: Tech Camera, Image Circle, Focal Length Equivalent

    Select the lens you're considering, then click the "1" next to the sensor you're going to be using to change it to "2" and then again and again to change it to "4". This is a two row, two column stitch (or "four quadrant stitch").

    Now go to the third visualizer and select your sensors, and then where it says "1-shot" click and change to 2-rows and 2-columns with your specific amounts of movement.

    Using the two visualizers you can compare the effective "wideness" of each combination of lens, back, and stitching.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    There's a nice video showing the use of the Max to flat stitch on the ALPA website here: ALPA of Switzerland - Manufacturers of remarkable cameras - ALPA 12 MAX

    And it offers his former customers a chance to see Paul Slotboom in action.
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    I do not do a lot of stitching, but will be more than happy to explain how I have done it with my MAX. I keep the stitching adapter permanently mounted on my MAX and find it adds nothing negative to do so. I have made "middle row" panos. I make sure my lens is centered and slide the back to the left and take a shot, slide the back to the center and take a shot, and finally, slide the back to the right and take a shot. There are so many different scenarios that can change this most basic way of stitching. You could decide to do a checkerboard stitch that would include top and bottom shots around the middle row; you could add focus stacking into the mix; you could add a few degrees of tilting and probably other technical attributes besides the LCC and image circle variables. Gerald does some remarkable panos in incredible places (I am a fan of his work) and hopefully he will help guide you.

    Like all things in photography, you have two sides to play with; the artistic/right brain side and the technical/left brain side. A lot of forum members talk about the tools. Over the years and through the various forums I have visited, this side, the tech tool side, gets a lot of attention. I have observed photographers chasing after tools with never ending endurance as if it was the tool that would make whatever it is they envisioned a reality, only to see them eventually chase after another with the same enthusiasm as before. Whatever it is you want to make a pano/stitch of, can easily be done with say a Nikon, a tripod, and a good lens. The MAX can do more than a Nikon because it has movements, but other than that, it is just a tool, albeit a most simplistic yet functional tool that can put an end to the evolution of tool swapping for some. Get your tools and teach yourself. I believe in the long run that is how it is done, although hanging out in forums can be educational as well, just watch your wallet!
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    I'm late to the thread, but wanted to be sure it is clear that the STC can stitch vertically as well as horizontally but not at the same time. It is either/or.

    Just depends how you mount the camera. Most of us buy two mounting plates, one on the bottom and one next to the grip.

    Dave
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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Doug,

    AMAZING TOOL !!!! - Just wow ! If i keep playing with it i will go blind ......

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Hi Victor,

    Quote Originally Posted by vjbelle View Post
    Pick your poison. Once you start shifting you start image degradation. I never shift beyond 10mm..... but that's just me.
    I get your point. I suppose at the end of the day any sort of joining shots together is sub optimal - i wish they would bring out a 6x17 sensor - i'd be all over that in a flash!

    As you say, it all comes down to the lens and IC.

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by narikin View Post
    Gerald - I'm disappointed in you! 1x 17mm T/S and 1x 17mm regular intermediate - I thought you'd have two 17mm TS's. Why on earth are you economizing - its too late for that now, surely?
    Is it really possible to use 2 x 17mm T/S ?

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    Re: Help Selecting an Alpa setup.

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    There's a nice video showing the use of the Max to flat stitch on the ALPA website here: ALPA of Switzerland - Manufacturers of remarkable cameras - ALPA 12 MAX
    Steve, thanks for the link - things starting to make more sense after watching that. Thanks

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